This is Disability Pride Month. Did you notice all the disabled spokespeople? Merchandise in Stores? Recognition of any sort? NOPE! It makes me mad that all these companies claim to be inclusive yet they forget about 17-27% of the population. Disability Pride Month is celebrated every July. The month is significant because that is when President George Bush signed into law on July 26, 1990, the first civil rights law for the disabled. We know it as the ADA laws. The point is to honor the history, achievements, experiences, and struggles of the disability community. It's important to share my story and who I am with a disability.
The law that changed it all
It is who I am
My disability does not define me but it is part of me. It's the very fabric of who I am. I am proud of my accomplishments and the positive message I try to share. The light I shine on the struggles and challenges that I face every day. One of those struggles is how I react to the pain of others. Anyone that knows me knows that I laugh when they get hurt. I don’t mean to, it is a nervous response. Sometimes it makes people angry to which I apologize but still laugh. Mom has repeatedly warned me that someday someone might not be so understanding of my laughter. Sometimes though the situation can be funny. We have all laughed at someone getting hurt. You have all seen those stupid home videos of the complete failure of a simple act.
Recently, mom hurt her hip. I know shouldn’t laugh at my mother but I couldn’t help it. She was struggling to walk from the bathroom to my bedroom. An uncontrolled giggle erupted as she struggled and winced to get to my room. Thankfully she understood, this time. It’s not very far but when your hip gives out it seems like a cross-country trip. After about the third time I called my mom that night, I was still laughing about her being hurt, she wasn’t so understanding of my laughter. But she finally figured out a way to get to me quickly. She used my lift as a walker. Who’s laughing now.? She also was a little testy with my laughing at her. She is a superhero though and grinned and bear the pain of her hip giving out with every step she took. She decided to leave the lift in the living room which is close to downstairs where she was watching TV. The next morning when I woke up I called her an old lady and asked if she used her walker to get to my room. To which replied, No, you smart ass. Her hip felt better and she no longer had to use the lift as a walker.
Watch your toes
Another time that happens frequently is when someone runs over their foot or toes with the wheelchair. I know it hurts but that nervous laugh comes bubbling out. No one has really been able to explain to me why I do this but I have spoken to my friends about it and they say that sometimes they have a nervous laugh too. We have all been in a situation in which we saw something happen that shouldn’t of and laugh even though the person got hurt. I recently read an article that said that Laughter was a great equalizer. That it is a response to stress. Isn’t there a saying that laughter is the best medicine? So I guess I get my daily dose.
Milk on the ceiling
It’s not funny when someone gets hurt but the situation can be very funny. Dad had just come in from cutting the grass. He had sweat pouring down his face. He went to sit in the chair and then suddenly he was on the floor. To be fair this chair is a little wonky the armrest is broken. I guess he forgot. This time both mom and I were laughing hysterically that he missed the chair and ended up on the floor. The look of shock on his face was priceless. I think his ego was more hurt than his body was.
I will leave you with the final dad moment. My dad is a die-hard Jets fan. I know, Just End The Season. I can’t tell you how excited he gets when they are on and he has come to expect them to lose. J-E-T-S jets jets jets! Must be football season. This one particular evening he fixed himself a sandwich and was so focused on watching his Jets lose yet again that he missed the last step and went sailing through the air. He had a full glass of milk in his hand which was now dripping from the ceiling downstairs. The sandwich that he had so carefully made was all over the floor. Mom went running to make sure he was okay as he lay writhing in pain on the floor. Then it happened I started laughing and then Mom. She asked him if he was okay and then asked him to get a mop. He was so dumbfounding he didn’t know what to do. Once mom saw he was okay she needed to clean up the mess before it permanently became part of the woodwork.
There are no word for this gem! I promise it is worth the watch.
I laugh at myself too
Even though it may not be appropriate to laugh when someone gets hurt I hope people understand I am not laughing at them. I don’t think it is funny that they got hurt. I just don’t know how else to react. Maybe I am just trying to convince myself that everything is alright.
Thank you for reading until the end!
This is the view from my wheelchair, where miracles can make a difference. Always Strive for the Impossible. Come back next week to see what is on my mind and hear more about my experiences and The View From My Wheelchair.